Mutton press / reviews

Mutton Mutton Mutton Mutton

Photographs by Jaap Oepkes

The performances are solid and the characters fully realised and there are plenty of world-weary laughs as the women's egos and ambitions clash over their shared past and fractious future. Mutton is a clever look at how the get-famous-now world has affected three women who should have known better.

THE HERALD: Thursday 23 August 2007

You get a choice of Bailey's or vodka and Red Bull when you walk into the dingy nightclub in the basement of the Gilded Balloon, which is the setting for a play set in a dingy nightclub. Three former members of Chix ("with an X") meet up to discuss old times and talk about getting the band back together again. The leading ladies are fabulous. Waen Shepherd, aka former Perrier newcomer winner Gary le Strange, has written a catchy spoof song to be their number 17 hit, which includes the rather wonderful line: "We're gonna make your cock crow."

THE SCOTSMAN: Monday 13 August 2007

4 stars I laughed non-stop!
reviewer: Sue Odell, Casting Director, London
Great atmosphere - from the moment we walked in to the theatre and were offered glasses of Baileys and pork scratchings! Loved all the wonderful characters - larger than life, but totally believable! Videos were excellent too.

4 stars Gripping.
reviewer: Billy Cape, Student, London
I really liked this production, all of the characters were interesting and very entertaining. The set was very basic and simple but worked perfectly with a great video addition. The plot was fun and gripping with lots of comic scenes.

5 stars Smiles and laughter permeated the performance.
reviewer: Sylvia Smith, Librarian, Hitchen
Smiles and laughter permeated the performance of Liberated Theatre's latest production 'Mutton'. 80's girls' band 'Chix' spent a re-union evening in a bar, re-living the moment of glory that was their one 'hit' single and ruminating on what might have been. Moments of great humour tempered with moments of pathos as they decide to re-group and give it another go. Good performances all round, well written and entirely believable. Loved the opening and closing videos!

4 stars Fun & quirky.
reviewer: Jasper Smith, Student, Hitchin, racistpriest&64;
I thought it was a really fun and quirky play - the song was definitely worthy of the next no.1- wink wink nudge nudge!

4 stars Funny and pithy.
reviewer: Harry Lupu, Producer-Director, Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. USA, actdirect&64;
I saw "Mutton" at the 2007 Fringe in Edinburgh this August and I would like to make the following comments and rating. The concept was funny and pithy with all the cast right on their characters. The rather cramped acting venue I feel inhibited the movement and flow of the action but was mostly overcome by the energy of the players. It deserves a proper venue so that more people could love it as I did.

3 and a half stars Loads of belly laughs.
reviewer: Julie Balloo, Writer and Fundraiser, London
I loved the nostalgia of the ugly eighties and the evolution of young women into middle aged women. I think this play has huge commercial potential and loads of belly laughs.

5 stars Touching and sometimes savage.
reviewer: Celi Lawson, Administrator, London
A brilliant reminder of pop culture in the 80's and a funny, touching and sometimes savage exploration of the relationship between the three women. If you remember the 80's you'll love it; if you don't, you'll still love it, because you'll realise not much has changed.

4 stars Recommended.
reviewer: Rene Volchansky, Travel writer, South Africa
Highly enjoyable, current and very real. Mutton successfully combines laugh-out-loud comedy with poignant drama. Cleverly executed and well done.

4 and a half stars Very funny and topical.
reviewer: Rob Croydon, MD of, London SE1
Very funny, audience really got into it, well written and acted and topical.

4 stars Great play.
reviewer: Fay Reeves, Medical secretary, York
I thoroughly enjoyed Mutton and look forward to further writing by this team.

4 stars Mutton had soul and spirit aplenty.
reviewer: James Cunningham, Marketing, Tonbridge, Kent, jamcunningham&64;
Mutton gets 4 star from me, because I've always felt 5 Star hotels lack soul. Mutton on the other hand had soul and spirit aplenty. A clearly talented cast brought to life a script that was evidently packed with an abundance of emotions. Each and every one of them had something we could identify with in some way as an audience, which made the whole plot all the more believable alongside the amusingly charicatured nature of the protagonists. A most enjoyable evening, which deserved to be a success in Edinburgh.

4 stars Funny and moving!
reviewer: Margaret Mann, 11 Lonsdale Square, London N1 1EN
"Mutton" at the Edinburgh Fringe centred around three women meeting again some twenty years after they had one hit in the pop charts. It showed the dissatisfactions and disappointments in their lives and was in turns funny and moving. It never flagged and was always engaging and well acted.

4 stars Thoroughly enjoyed it!
reviewer: Ian Owen, Art Director, London,
The writing was marvelous. In fact so good I'm surprised the songs are not in the top ten. If you add the acting into the mixture then I'm surprised that the music videos are not in the top ten download charts as well. Horns to die for, that's what I say.

4 stars Extraordinarily captivating.
reviewer: Robin Smith, Ethical Marketing, Soho, London,
Mutton is an extraordinarily captivating and modern play, the relationships between the character twisted and turned like a sharp knife. The story explores the laminate superficiality of celebrity and contrasts it with the deep underlying emotional tensions that play out behind the scenes. I loved it. It made me laugh, it made me shiver - the horns were inspired and the performances super-real. Can't wait for the next installment.

5 stars I saw Mutton several times.
reviewer: Steffi Abbot, Ethical Marketing, London,
I enjoyed Mutton so much that I went to see it several times. The second time I took my mum & auntie – who both enjoyed it immensely. The songs were genius with some very memorable lines, in particular during the first song, the line: - "We’re gonna make your cock crow" Classic. The music had us dancing in our seats. The videos to accompany the music were very well done & were very believable - I was taken right back to the 80's with a jolt. Great performances all round & many laugh out loud moments. The Mutton pies weren’t bad either!

4 stars Very, very funny.
reviewer: Simon Price, Farnborough
Some great performances with believable characters and storyline. Loved the videos which really helped set the context for the rest of the play. A very enjoyable show which kept me entertained and engaged throughout.

5 stars Funny, poignant and wonderfully acted.
reviewer: Jemma Jessup, Actress, Gilford
This play had realistic characters and a clever plot. The set perfectly invoked the feel of actually being sat in the pub with the cast which was helped by the clever idea of offering us all drinks as we came through the door. Far too many good performances to pick anyone out, all seemed like real people complete with faults and neuroses and yet all were likeable and witty. A great night out.

4 stars Cracking night down the pub!
reviewer: Stuart Morrison, Comedian, Gilford,
It's a cracking night down the pub, with booze (free alcohol, good ploy!) and a trip down memory lane taking you back to the Eighties, which is exactly what the plot entails. Mutton is a refreshing slice of theatre that raises a smile until it's a chuckle and keeps going until it hits a full on belly laugh. I loved it, bright, breezy and has an excellent spoof Eighties pop video that Bananarama themselves would have been pleased with. This is definitely lamb dressed up as mutton and deserves a West End debut. Go see it.

5 stars Some great lines...laugh-out-loud funny!
reviewer: Marcia Smith, Jewellery Designer, Hitchin,
Entertainment at it's best ...pushed all the right buttons - showed the sad disillusionment of our celebrity one-offs with big humour - as only 'Life' can dish out - Good stuff!!

4 stars We hope to see it on TV one day.
reviewer: Marie Murphy, Musician, London, Jazz to go Ltd
We had great fun at Mutton, it reminded us of the dark comedy of Mike Leigh...Witty, gritty but lots of laughs too! Hope to see it on TV in the near future

5 stars Mutton is a fantastically strong bold vision.
reviewer: Catherine Mobley, Actress and Egyptian Dance Performer, Camden, London UK
From the meat pies and choice pork scratchings laid out Northern pub buffet style to the spot on use of cheesy 80s pop dance routines. The characters are well drawn out with just the right balance of down to earth comedy and exposition on the current climate with regard to the yearning for fame at any cost.

5 stars A great, must-see show.
reviewer: Joyce Pullen, Hitchin,
A brilliant show with excellent cast - it has a very good storyline that will appeal to all ages capped off at the end with an hilarious song written by Gary Le Strange. A play worthy of being transferred to television and hope its shown in London as I'd like to see it again.

4 stars Big, bold, brash and bouncy - and that's just the poster! 12 Aug 2007
reviewer: LdeF, Leicester, United Kingdom
This play has, as is mentioned below, a great cast of big characters, which deserve further development, and are delivered to us with considerable charm and a couple of very strong performances. Enjoy the well-observed bitchiness and general 'rubbing along together' of one-time girl band, Chix (long parted), not to mention the comic excellence of the man with connections in the music biz - quite the catalyst. All this is served up with a great layer of eighties cheese, not to mention the welcome of alcohol and pies as you enter. Take a large bite - you won't regret it.

5 stars A spicy plateful of Mutton! 11 Aug 2007
reviewer: Martin Alcock, Edinburgh, UK
This is a ballsy, poignant, big hearted show of the kind that you don't see too often on the fringe. A rock solid cast deliver terrific, outsize performances (on a stage the size of a paper napkin) The play and the characters well merit a life beyond Edinburgh (Channel 4 and the Beeb please note!)

5 stars Great show. 09 Aug 2007
reviewer: John Taylor, North Yorks, United Kingdom
This was really good fun. Light hearted with a good story line. We went in a mixed age group and we all enjoyed it.

5 stars This show is funny. 06 Aug 2007
reviewer: Gemma Richardson, Liverpool, United Kingdom
Light-hearted and good fun this show is well worth seeing if you fancy a laugh mid-afternoon. The performances of Cath Rice and her CHIX counterpart Sue are particularly strong and stand out from the others.

5 stars Hilarious! 03 Aug 2007
reviewer: Kelley Sarson, London, United Kingdom
Brilliant show with a brilliant and supremely talented cast! Fantastic performances from all. Especially loved the nostalgic videos. Go and see it. Don't miss out. You'll regret it!!

4 stars Mixed Bag. 25 Aug 2007
reviewer: Katherine and Marcus James, Walton-on-Thames
Two things really stood out for us with this production. Firstly, how well the actresses responded to one another during the course of the play. We loved the comic performance from the blonde bombshell Neula (think that's how you spell it) and really emotional speech from Red at the end about being a battered wife. The play generally really impressed us and was an enjoyable hour spent on the fringe. The second thing which stood out is less possitive. The young irish barman (Gareth Kane) was absolutely wasted!! We saw him the night before in The Reduced Edinburgh Fringe Impro Show and loved the show (and him particularly, so much so that we made a point to corner him to tell him so afterwards). What a waste of comic talent. He could have been the best thing in this play but we didn't even recognise him till we read his name in the programme. Such a shame he wasn't used better in the show. Great show otherwise!

4 stars Fun - laughs - and a few tears too! 20 Aug 2007
reviewer: Kez, United Kingdom
This show was fantastically good fun but with moments of poignancy too. Great use of audio-visual effects. Very talented cast. Sue Vincent particularly shone with a charismatic performance - but they were all fab! Well worth going to see - it genuinely made me laugh out loud!

5 stars Fantastically fresh and fun show. 16 Aug 2007
reviewer: Barry, Soho, London, United Kingdom
I loved Mutton. In all it's mood swings. Up down left right = really bold writing puncturing drama with humour and some outrageous gags. It leaps off the stage at you. Why don't more people write like this. Cracking stuff. See it (unless you like routine).

5 stars 80s rule OK. 15 Aug 2007
reviewer: Ian, Lois & Hannah, United Kingdom
Great story - brilliantly acted by all the cast. Shelagh (Sue Vincent) was particularly good - but they were all excellent. The story had the lot - laughs, tears, excitement, a proper fight scene. The merging of video with real-time was a great idea and worked really well. A really worthwhile play and is certain worth seeing.

4 stars Mixing comedy elements with some 'uncomfortable' moments.
reviewer: Peter and Janet Bleasdale, Managing Director, P.B. Papers Ltd / Price & Pierce Tissue Finland OY, Glasgow, Scotland UK, peter.bleasdale&64;
Overall Janet and I enjoyed the show. Good performances from all the cast, but we felt that Gareth Kane's part in the play was under-utilised and could have been built on, being almost incidental to the proceedings.

5 stars Fabulously funny.
reviewer: Freya Janes, Actress, London, freya_janes&64;
Absorbing and engaging from start to finish. Talented comedy writing, jokes were well built up, rather than being thrown out there one by one. Hilariously drawn characters. Sharp, witty dialogue. Wonderfully acted by Kiki Kendrick and co. Great songs. Really good energy that had the whole audience in hysterics right the way through.

4 stars A must see show.
reviewer: Irene Bradshaw, Drama teacher, London, irene&64;
I didn't know what to expect but "Mutton" hit a glorious button pathos and a good laugh. This is a must see show for all those who are or knows someone over forty. Kiki as always makes you wet your pants.

4 stars A popbitching night out!
reviewer: Ian Milne, Director, ian&64;
Mutton moved with an ebb and flow from start to finish, with both actors and characters showing great confidence in the script and each other…a captivating show!

4 stars What a fabulous show.
reviewer: Denzil Roberts, Director, London, denzil&64;
I’ve never laugh so much, I nearly wet my pants. Wonderful cast and a most enjoyable show, Everyone should see this show, it’s a great night out!

5 stars A well deserved five.
reviewer: Kate Galston, Actor, East Finchley, kateg4&64;
This play left me feeling on such a high, great fun and really takes you on a journey. I would rate this play out of a five star rating, a well deserved five.

4 stars Mutton deserves to be a hit!
reviewer: Mary Beck, Doctors receptionist, Barnet, mary_beck&64;
I was delighted to be at the opening night of Mutton, and seeing it in Edinburgh was even better. I thought it was funny, witty, loved the story line, and you all acted superbly. Would love to hear the songs again, they had me singing along. In short Mutton deserves to be a hit!

3 stars An important message.
Reviewer Sarah Beard, Actress, London
I really enjoyed the message of the play. I think it's a really important message to address.

4 stars Clever staging
Reviewer: Olivia Ward, student, Hertfordshire
Mutton was an imaginative and comical piece of theatre which uses clever staging to create an atmosphere aging both in the set and in the characters. The lighthearted comedy appeals to people of all ages and keeps the audience laughing from beginning to end.

4 stars Funny, sassy, intelligent and fab music!
Reviewer: Emma Stafford, Casting Director, Manchester
Great performances, script, music and free drinks - what more can you ask for? Go and see it!

5 stars Funny and poignant.
Reviewer: Dave and Judy Willis, Salty Dog Crisps, Buckinghamshire
An original, laugh out loud play that I wanted to see again and again. Great casting, funny and poignant. 5 out of 5, let me see it again soon!!

4 stars  A Revelation.
Reviewer: Emily Ward, History student, Canterbury
For every woman with frustrated star quality, Mutton is a revelation.

4 stars  Henshall has impeccable comic timing.
Reviewer: Anna Scutt, Actor, Truro, Cornwall
A poignant story with lots of laugh out loud moments, this took me right back to my school discos of the 80s! Waen Shepherd's music and the videos captured the 80s perfectly. Catherine Rice managed the difficult feat of playing Nuala without falling into the dizzy blonde stereotype and Paul Henshall has impeccable comic timing.

5 stars Challenges your attitudes to disabled people.
Reviewers: The Close Family, Penzance, Cornwall,
Mutton took us back to the 80's. Both funny and moving - a play that challenges your attitudes to disabled people, others and yourself. Brilliantly performed by believable characters with personal depth who made us laugh out loud and stop and think. We were singing the song for weeks after the show. The best thing we saw at the Edinburgh Festival - we all thoroughly enjoyed it and would love the chance to see it again!!!

5 stars  A captivating show.
Reviewer: Anita Wright, actor, Oxford, Anita Wright,
Mutton! What a captivating show - pithy inventive dialogue, twists and turns in the action, a very strong cast, witty videos and a glass of Baileys, all whipped together with verve. I laughed and gnashed my teeth in equal measure and came out feeling invigorated - a triumph for the Fringe!

5 stars  Laugh out loud.
Reviewer: Rosie Arnold, Creative Director, London
Timely and poignant play which makes you laugh out loud and think hard about lost dreams and aspirations. Can't wait to see it again.

4 stars  The premise was very good.
Reviewer: Clive Greenwood, Actor London
I enjoyed the performances and remembered similar girl bands to "Chix" so thought the premise was very good also!

5 stars  A perfect satire.
Reviewer: David Partington, Occupation: Creative strategist, London,
A perfect satire about the modern obsession with fame. Following the story of three ageing pop princesses who are struggling to let go of the past. An a-list comedy about very e-list celebrities.

5 stars Comic moments were a treasure.
Reviewer: Sandra Hughes, Lone Parent Adviser with Department for Work and Pensions, Liverpool,
I was so glad I was able to see the play 'Mutton' at Edinburgh this year as it was a real treat! In fact, not just the treat of a hilarious yet poignant play, but the added bonus of Mutton pie and Baileys! I laughed out loud so much! Comic moments were a treasure to behold. I absolutely loved the opening video of said 80's pop hit 'Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!' It could possibly be a hit, second time around and pardon the pun for those who have seen the play. I was really impressed by the actors, Kiki, Catherine and sue who totally immersed themselves in their roles. I was moved by their individual stories, interaction and found myself time and time again moved from laughter to sorrow - a real testament to piece itself and their delivery and commitment to the play as whole and not giving into the temptation of what could have been a platform for some great 'one liners'. I do hope 'Mutton' will hit the stage again soon as I would definitely recommend it as a fantastic piece of theatre about real women with hopes, dreams and courage to face the future when a glimmer of light is shone their way to do what they can do 'second time around'.

4 stars  Atmospheric.
Reviewer: Sharon Lazarus, Welfare Advisor, London
An atmospheric and punchy look at fame, dreams and disability. Funny, poignant and very human.

4 stars  Fizzily engaging play.
Reviewer: Mark Blanchard. Art Director, Bushy, Herts,
Anyone wanna-be X-factor contestants would find 'Mutton' gives them something to chew on. This fizzily engaging play about a reunited 80s girl band who are past their sell-by date was by turns laugh-out-loud funny and extremely poignant. The three main characters were very well-drawn and the songs were absolutely spot-on. Mutton was that rare thing - a bit of shamelessly escapist entertainment that also managed to make you think.

Reviewer: Amber Finlayson, Director, Bertie Films
I am not very good at reviewing stuff ... theatre is a foreign beast to me, but I really enjoyed the performance and it was great to see Kiki acting again (last time was Phobias, when she breathed life into Thalma). Also seeing what went into putting the show together, made me realise it has a lot in common with making a short film! I really did enjoy the performance and admire you for all the effort and emotion you put into it!

Mutton was great. Very funny and a great cast. I had a lovely time. I think it could do very well on telly too.
Karen Rosie, Producer, BBC, London

I thought last night's rehearsed reading was one of the funniest things I have ever seen on stage. The only other play I have seen that scored anywhere near as high in laughs was 'Art' but I think I enjoyed Mutton more. I know this thing could be really big - congratulations on this brilliant writing!
Rob Groves, Director, Easyway, Manchester

MUTTON was fast, fun, frenetic, feminist, funny and a fucking good night out!
David Graham, David Graham Entertainment

I think that the writing is fun and funny and there is a lovely rapport between the characters and it was wonderful how significant the packet of crisps became'.
Ellen Fox, Writer, London

We enjoyed Mutton, it was very Mike Leigh -ish and hope to see it on the telly in the near future... the cast, including yourself were excellent and Paul who played Malcolm was soooo soo funny!
Adrian Chipperfield, Designer, London

I really enjoyed MUTTON. I had a great night and it was very funny. I'd love to see a full production of it.
Gavin Humphries, Producer, Quark Films

I thought MUTTON was brilliant, Kiki and James have a great eye, or is it ear for these bitter sweet plays.
Bruce McKinnon, Director, Host Universal

I thought it was very good ­ I liked the writing ­ I liked the humour very much, I liked the style... I very much liked the characters, perfectly cast. Thought more could be made of the bar man? I think it's got fabulous potential.
Tally Parr, Producer, 5065 Lift

X is such a slut, Y is so ambitious and Z so earthy, it's like watching magnets pushing against each other while you (and Malcolm) will them to get together with a big sexy bang! Timing is perfect, it's great to get a glimpse of the torture Sting's going through. Ballsy sleazy no-hopers staring fame in the face and mistaking him for a pervert. Mutton, tough, chewy and bad taste ­ it's fabulous, well done (or just gently grilled) yum yum
Keith Bickel, Director, Host Universal

My honest opinion is that it worked really well, but just praise will not help you improve it!! There were a few moments where there were no laughs (but very few!) I really enjoyed it.
Jaap Oepkes, Photographer, London, jaap&64;

Made me laugh and cringe at the same time, as I remembered my 80's DREAMS.
Jax Roberts, Actress, Hertfordshire

I really enjoyed the play. I felt that the audience was with you and rooting for the characters, eager to see where the play was going and to enjoy the journey along the way.
Anna Moberbly, Singer, Australia

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